What do you do when your babysitter gives you a weird look about EC? How can you give caregivers the tools and confidence to practice EC with your child even when you're not around? Listen for THE thing to do plus tips for setting your child's caregiver up for success!
You will hear:
- the FIRST thing to do with a new caregiver
- a foolproof way explain EC to a caregiver
- easy tips for setting the caregiver up for EC success
- when backups can work with the process
- tools for a smooth care + EC transition
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Daycare + EC blog post
- Easy Catch #1
- Easy Catch #2
- Easy Catch #3
- Easy Catch #4
- Top Hat Potty
- Mini Potty
- Tiny Trainers
- Tiny Ups
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Today we're going to talk about getting caregivers to consistently EC and specifically we're going to talk about home babysitters, nannies, people at home that you want to consistently do EC with your baby. You can read the full written transcript and see links to anything I mention in today's show over at godiaperfree.com/177, and also, feel free to ask questions or comment in the comments over there. We'll see you over there.
Hey there, welcome to the Go Diaper Free podcast. I'm Andrea Olson, your host, author, and mom of five babies, all EC'd from birth, all out of diapers by walking.
How do we get a caregiver that you have at your house to consistently EC? This is a babysitter, a nanny, your mother-in-law, grandma, whatever, whoever is watching your baby, maybe it's your husband or your partner or whatever and you can't get them to consistently do EC when your baby's out of your care, which makes you feel kind of trapped. Like, "Boy, am I ever going to be able to leave this baby and go shopping, take a shower, do work, take care of myself, go out," any of those things. Because you feel guilty because when you're not there, they're not being EC'd, and that's a problem for you. And I have totally been there and I get that.
And over the course of five babies and especially living in Asheville, North Carolina, where people are nuts, I now have very consistent nannies and babysitters, but I have gone through at least 50 or 60 of them because of the level of flakiness in our town. And I will tell you, I have trained so many of them, including daycares and preschools, which we're not going to talk about in today's episode, but I have trained so many that I can just tell you very easily how to do it.
Okay. Are you ready? It's pretty simple. The first thing you want to do is talk to them about what you do. Now, you have the right to request anybody watching your baby. It's a little more difficult with family members, I get that. But you have the right to say, "Okay, my child, we do this this way. We do feeding this way. This is when her naps are, and this is what we do for potty." That is just part of the big picture.
If you have somebody who's more of an indigenous person from an intact culture, maybe a third world country where they already do EC, you can go ahead and say, "Hey, did your mom or your grandma... Have you ever seen this practice before of pottying babies early?" And if you've got somebody from Thailand or Vietnam, or I don't mean to generalize, but places where they still do EC, Mexico, we got South America, Brazil. If you've got somebody from there, Africa, China, they're probably going to be like, "Oh yeah, totally. That's how I was pottied growing up and I do know how to do that." Then it's easy. Then you need to say, "Okay. Well, we're doing that." And you just tell them, "This is my baby's timing. My baby's signals. This is what to expect, et cetera."
So, the first thing I want to say is that you have full permission to do this. This is your baby and you're paying this person. They're your employees. You get to tell them what you want done. Unless it's a family member, in which case, it's a favor and in that case, you want to approach it slightly differently, okay? That's all I want to say about that. If they are from an indigenous culture, definitely take advantage of that and just be like, "Hey, what do you know about this?" Because you might learn something from them.
The next thing I want you to do, no matter who it is, paid or not is show them how. While you're talking, you've got your baby and then, or maybe your baby wakes up from the nap while talking to them about caregiving, and you bring them over to the potty and say, "Hey, just come here with me. And you have them watch." Proof is in the pudding, you guys. When they see it, they're like, "Oh man, okay. That's cool and wow," but they'll start to feel like incompetent. "I don't know how to do that. Am I going to let you down?" So what we want to do, if possible, and usually... I work from home. Now I have my Garage Mahal behind me. I've got this huge space where I can work and dance and play and all that and do homeschool.
But before, I worked in my bedroom for 10 years, so somebody would come over, I'd say, "Hey, tidy up the house. Do whatever. When the baby wakes up, bring the baby directly to me. Don't let the baby fuss around very long. So she'd have to monitor. She'd bring the baby to me when she woke up, I would take the baby's diaper off, bring the baby over to the sink or the toilet and potty her. So I would have done the foundational pee.
After doing that a couple of times, and then I would nurse the baby and then give the baby to the caregiver. And what I would say is, "When she fusses for the first time after I hand her over to you, I want you to offer the potty and this is how to do it." And this is so important you guys. Set the expectation really low. "I really don't care if you catch anything ever. That relieves all the pressure on these people you guys, because they're like, "Oh, I cannot... I can do all the things, but I can't. I've never done this before."
So we want to lose the pressure, no expectations. We want to be there a few times and we really, especially with a young baby, we want to hinge off of wake up times. When the child wakes up, bring her to me and you do this three or four times. Then the next time say, "All right, when the baby wakes up, you go ahead and potty her this time. Then bring her to meet to me to nurse." Then you give her back. "The first time she fusses, you potty her, okay? And even the first fuss, the very first day of work, bring the baby to me when she wakes up, okay. I potty her. I nurse her. I give her to the caregiver, bring her to me when the baby first fusses and then I will potty her." So you're going to demonstrate that a few times and be there for it. If you can be there. Great.
If you can't be there, because you have to go off to work or something just say, "Hey, when baby wakes up, do this, show her the Top Hat Potty, the sink, whatever. Show her how to hold the baby in position, or him or her, underneath the thighs, head leaning against your back and just, or if you have a mini potty, here's how to..." Just sit her around the Mini Potty and then say, "I don't expect you to catch anything. Use the diaper as a backup.
But in our household, the diaper is not a toilet. I just want you to know. And we are responding to our baby's needs so I can teach you some things and leave it at that." Try not to over talk, because I definitely over talk with them. The other thing I'm going to say is just give them some, especially with husbands, we want to give them an opportunity to be winners, to have success because that's going to encourage them to keep going. Men hate feeling like a failure. I know that from all this research I've done and also from personal experience. We want to set them up for success so that they feel competent and this is something new to them. So any caregiver you're leaving your child with, "Hey, offer the potty at wake ups and write it on a piece of paper or chalkboard. Offer at wake up for easy catches. When baby starts to poop, like I don't really want her pooping in her diaper and you probably shouldn't want to clean that up." So when they poop just say, wait really gently and have them finish on the toilet. Just like a two-year-old would, right? So wake ups, poops. Hey, every time..." And this is the greatest thing about a caregiver. "Hey, every time you change my baby's diaper," because that's what they're used to. "Every time you change my baby's diaper, can you please offer the potty.
And I've got this potty right here. For those of you who can see and are not just listening, this Mini Potty from Tiny Undies. Just have them hold the baby over it and just offer the potty hat. If it's a toddler, have her sit down on it. ECs for 0 to 18 months. This is really the range that I'm talking about. With 18 months and up, you just want to potty train and then just finish the potty training without the caregiver or have the caregiver help you potty train and then it's just maintenance, all that.
We're not talking about that today. We're talking about EC with babies at home. Okay. So give them the Four Easy Catches. Every time you change a diaper, offer the potty. I don't care if you catch anything. It's just this way of giving the baby something to depend on. Every time, let's see, I wake up, I'm going to get offered. Every time I need to poop, I'm going to get offered. Every time I have a diaper change, I'm going to get an opportunity, pottytunity, opportunity for a potty. And we talked about pottytunities recently.
And then what's the fourth easy catch? Oh, the fourth easy catch is going to only benefit the caregiver. Like, "Hey, she usually poops in her high chair. So why don't you offer before she gets in the high chair and let her poop so you don't have to deal with all that fussiness and food everywhere and all that crap? Literally." So you could talk about ins and outs and you could talk about transition times at work for you. Like if you're having your caregiver bathe your child, "Hey, offer the potty before the bath so that she's going to go to the bathroom in the bathtub." Everybody wins. Of course, I'm going to offer.
Offer when the baby gets out of the bath before you put them in new clothes so you don't have to change the diaper right away, because she's going to pee in the diaper and then you're going to have to change it anyway. So just bring up the Four Easy Catches as a way to make it make sense to the caregiver so that you show him or her that you're taking something off their plate as a caregiver, but also doing something that really matters to you and your values as a family.
The last two things I want to say, oh man, use a backup, especially if you already ditched diapers and you're already out of diapers and you're at 12, 13 months, then we want to use maybe a training pant like my Tiny Trainers at Tiny Undies or you maybe want to use a Tiny Ups pull up cover. I have those here for those of you who can see.
So you may want to use training pants with some padding or this is a cover, it's a TinyUp cover, that you can put over the training pants or do solo, but just a little extra because you know how it is when your baby pees on the floor. It's a little bit stressful, and if your baby's not quite there yet, but is poop-trained, then totally put them in something just with a tiny bit of padding if it doesn't derail the process.
And I also just want to mention that sending them to daycare, having them with a caregiver with a diaper on is actually okay. Just tell them, "Hey, Nana is new at this so you'll just have a diaper on while she watches you," and they'll get it. They're smart and they understand language before they can even talk. So don't worry about that. Do the best you can, use a backup if you feel like you should.
And then the last thing I want to talk about for this particular topic, getting caregivers to consistently EC at home is to tell them to treat... If they are a babysitter or a nanny or even a mom or grandma or a friend, a woman who's a mom already or grandma, somebody who's been around kids, "Hey, treat my child like a two-year-old." So, when would you take a two year-old to the bathroom, you know they can't hold it that long. So they need to go after lunch or whatever, before they go outside to play, before you put all their clothes on, when they wake up." So just have them zoom out and think as if they're dealing with a two-year-old, which a lot of babysitters have dealt with two-year-olds and then you can reframe things for them. And they're like, "Oh, this is like a tiny version of a two-year-old."
That's all I have to say about that. Hopefully this helps you get your home caregivers to consistently EC. And that's it. Please go to godiaperfree.com/177 to see the full written transcript. Comment, leave a comment, see what other people are commenting and let us know what are you doing today to get your home caregiver to consistently EC. We would love to learn from you there and we'll see you next time.
Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)